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e6filmuser
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Post Your Set Up!


JohnK007 wrote:
No offense, but there is nothing in focus and everything is severely diffracted.


That's just no the case.

JohnK007 wrote:
Using 220mm of extention at f/16 wouldn't be something I personally would do as it's impossible to get a clean result.


It is the correct register distance for such a large format lens.

JohnK007 wrote:
I, too, have been practicing with taking single-image shots with reversed lenses, using a flash ... trying to achieve depth-of field @ f/16 ... but that's only at 2x, not 10x.

At 10x, I would only shoot wide-open.


There is no point, as it shows nothing of any depth of the subject.

JohnK007 wrote:
Even at only 2x, athough I have got some sharp results with single image + flash @ f/16, I do not like the background rendering anywhere near as much as shooting wide-open (f/2.8-f/4)


Background rendering is an issue. However, the background is not the main point of the image.

JohnK007 wrote:
stacking, using natural light and a low shutter ... as my above images.

Much-much cleaner IMO. (Albeit, much-much more labor-intensive.)


So where are your field insect stacks?

Harold




Aug 15, 2017 at 01:05 PM
JohnK007
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Post Your Set Up!


e6filmuser wrote:
I agree entirely.

It is the ONLY way I use mine.

Harold


10-4



Aug 15, 2017 at 01:13 PM
JohnK007
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Post Your Set Up!


e6filmuser wrote:
That's just no the case.


Okay, we can just agree to disagree.



e6filmuser wrote:
It is the correct register distance for such a large format lens.


I don't really pay attention to stuff like that, I just shoot according to my eye.

Some people may like my work, others may not, and that's okay too.



e6filmuser wrote:
There is no point, as it shows nothing of any depth of the subject.


Ahh, but that's where the stacking comes in

You achieve DOF this way while at the same time rendering a beautiful background.



e6filmuser wrote:
So where are your field insect stacks?

Harold


Lol, fair enough

Here are some different images taken with the same camera/lens, to different effect:



Single Image (Taken @ f/4) good bokeh, albeit terribly busy background, nothing much in focus.



Single Image (Taken @ f/16) Everything's in focus, but ugly background (too much in focus), aberrations of diffraction setting in, etc.



52-Image Stack (Taken @ f/4) Best of everything: creamy bokeh, everything's in focus, zero diffraction.



52-Image Stack (Taken @ f/4) Best of everything: creamy bokeh, everything's in focus, zero diffraction.


The last two stacks aren't perfect, but they are a lot closer to perfection than the first two.

I am working, so I have to go, but later I will post an image taken at f/16 ... with 72mm of extension ... at 3x ... compared to a 50-image stack at f/4 ...to show how much difference there is in image quality.

Cheers,

PS: The last 2 field stacks are ~ 1:1 while the top 2 are @ ~ 1:2 (bigger mantids).
Still, none of these mantid images are anywhere near as clean and sharp as my spider images (taken @ 2x - 4x) due to wind movement. In the studio, of course, I am able to get much cleaner images because there is zero air movement, or at least not enough to cause motion-blur as what happens in the field.



Aug 15, 2017 at 01:43 PM
e6filmuser
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Post Your Set Up!


John,

It's good to swap opinions, and experience. It is stimulating.

Drawing on my experience:

For many years I was involved in the taxonomy of springtails. For those who don't know, these are tin (as small as 0.25mm) six-legged, wingless arthropods. This involved a lot of high magnification microscope work, mostly at x 400, much at x1500 in oil immersion (fluorite objective). I can say that I never saw a sharply-defined edge on any part of any of them at such magnifications. The parts were in focus. It is just that the closer you look, the more detail you see and that is not condusive to sharp edges. Shapes had to be worked out by repeatedly focusing up and down perhaps making drawings to construct the morphology. The lines in those drawings did not exist in nature but they represented an approximation which could be worked with, including for comparisons with other specimens/species.

A better way of imaging the external morphology is by electron-scanning micrographs, built up by bouncing beams of electrons off gold-plated specimens - very lifelike! When you look at such photos there is no sharpness, only ever-smaller detail. But our eyes (brain) compromise to form an outline.

If you want your images to look sharp, make then small. Contact prints and 35mm transparencies mostly look equally good until you blow them up.

There are no straight lines or sharp edges in nature, including in non-living things. If you look at the edge of the sharpest knife at a high enough magnification it will resemble a mountain range.

As you increase magnification in plant, animal or microbial material you see more and more detail and irregularities. For example, the expanding network emerging from inside a slime mould spore capsule ( Trichia, etc.) are formed to do just that. Having the edges of the strand parallel, or all in one plane seem not to be required They might (I don't know but suspect) have numerous pits where spores had been before release.

So, as we look closer and closer, our subjects look less and less well-defined. Eventually, although light will not work for this, we would see molecules and then the atoms, the last of which are mostly empty space.

In general photography the lens and camera conspire together with our eyes and brain to make us see edges and lines. This is a lie but it pleases us. As we go up the magnifications, it becomes more of a lie and eventually gives up the pretence.

Diverting for a moment, many photographers dislike teleconverters. They accuse them of degrading their images. What is happening is that detail has appeared where there were "lines" before. It is strange that the same photographers who may have decided to buy a lens based on a test showing that it resolves more lines per mm than others simply can't cope when it does so.

Yes, there is diffraction as an issue, an increasing problem as (effective) apertures get smaller and smaller.

The difficulty, at high magnification, is in judging what is diffraction and what is the true appearance of fine biological structures. Processing artifacts...

Well done to anyone still awake after reading through this! I struggled.

Harold




Aug 15, 2017 at 02:35 PM
JohnK007
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Post Your Set Up!


Hello again, Harold.

Agree that such philosophical discussions can be stimulating ... especially since Philosophy is the degree conferred upon me by UCLA

We disagree, though, fundamentally.

What you describe is lack of resolution + inadequate lens, rather than reality.

When shooting photographs, we operate within the limitation of the resolution of our sensor + the resolving power of our lenses. Thus, in antiquated years gone by, using inferior glass + inferior sensors, YES, as you 'blow up' the image, the finer details of what you photographed get fuzzier and fuzzier, exactly as you describe. Your conclusion is in error, however.

This phenomenon is NOT because of any lack of definition between the subject and its background; rather, it is merely the lack of resolution inherent in the sensor you are using + the lack of resolving power in the lens.

When I shot the Canon 7D +100 mm macro, six years ago, when I blew up my images to full-size, they looked terrible. I believe the resolution limit was something around 4500 megapixels on a raw file. If I blew it up to 6000 megapixels, the resolution was more horrific still.

Again, as you described, when I shrunk my images down 800 megapixels they looked "sharp" — but they were anything but when blown-up 7x this size.

By contrast, when shooting my Nikon D810, at Base ISO, and my Voigtländer SL 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar Macro, the result is the opposite. I absolutely love how my images look, blown up full-size, on my color-calibrated monitor. In exactly the opposite fashion, I hate the way they look (as small jpgs) posted online. Everything is much more clearly defined in its larger form: the colors, the contrast, the detail.

WHY? Because my current D810 sensor is 10 times the sensor of the 7D, and the Voigtländer lens is 10 times the lens of the severely-outdated 100 mm macro.

I don't have time for more, but I think the phenomenon you're describing is an inequity in lens/sensor resolution over a reality in the physical world.

There are, absolutely, physical boundaries between the subject and the background.

That these clear lines become blurred at higher magnification = an indication of a substandard lens + an inadequate sensor.

By contrast, the more proficient the lens, and the greater the resolution of the sensor, the more we are able to make these clear distinctions at higher and higher magnifications ... hence the price difference between the best lenses + sensors available versus 'budget,' substandard equivalents

That's my $0.02.



Aug 15, 2017 at 03:10 PM
micaelwidell
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Post Your Set Up!


JohnK007 wrote:
Hello again

FYI, after reviewing some of your claims, and while freely admiring (and admitting) your images are excellent--as is the information in Mr. Hallmén's link--some of what has been said is actually incorrect.

You claim your DIY high-mag macro is the lightest lens setup possible, but actually it is not.

Adding up the weight, the Meike MK-C-UP Auto Macro Extension Tube you need weighs 250g, the Canon Pancake weighs 130g, and your 36mm extender weighs 125g. The Metabones adapter is another 203g.
According to my calculations, this means your lens setup weighs 708g ... and the MP-E itself (which you say is
...Show more

Hi!

I did say "you couldn't get much lighter than this", and not "the lightest setup possible". And I stand by that, as not only my lens, but also the camera itself and the flash are extremely light weight, especially considering it is a full frame camera. But yes, with an old manual lens you could definitely go a bit lighter in terms of lens. In fact, I would find it nicer to have a manual aperture for macro photography anyway.

Also, it is not fair to compare the weight of the MP-E 65 without the metabones adapter, to my lens construction WITH the metabones adapter, as you would need the metabones adapter in either case – making my lens construction lighter than the MP-E 65.




Sep 02, 2017 at 03:12 AM
e6filmuser
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Post Your Set Up!


I don't concern myself much with the weight of my hardware, although I often walk considerable distances, over many hours, photographing subjects (close-up & macro) whenever I find them. I don't use a conventional camera strap as I find that it gets in the way.

On such long walks I wear a chest harness, which allows my camera to be suspended via a standard tripod-thread screw. The camera can be swung up and used while still attached.

More usually, when walking between shoots, I just rest my camera-holding hand on the top of my camera shoulder bag, which I invariably carry.

Looking more widely, I find camera and lens reviews wierd. The concern is with weight, compactness and appearance. Image quality rarely gets a mention. I have other priorities.

Harold

Edited on Sep 04, 2017 at 01:42 AM · View previous versions



Sep 02, 2017 at 03:42 AM
JohnK007
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Post Your Set Up!


micaelwidell wrote:
Hi!

I did say "you couldn't get much lighter than this", and not "the lightest setup possible". And I stand by that, as not only my lens, but also the camera itself and the flash are extremely light weight, especially considering it is a full frame camera.


Hi again. I agree it is a nice and very light setup. No doubt. I enjoyed your video also

The D810 is a FF camera.




micaelwidell wrote:
But yes, with an old manual lens you could definitely go a bit lighter in terms of lens. In fact, I would find it nicer to have a manual aperture for macro photography anyway.


Exactly my point. Don't need any adapters with a Nikon and an AI-S lens. No need for an adapter. No need for another device to gain aperture control, either.



micaelwidell wrote:
Also, it is not fair to compare the weight of the MP-E 65 without the metabones adapter, to my lens construction WITH the metabones adapter, as you would need the metabones adapter in either case – making my lens construction lighter than the MP-E 65.


Nope. Don't need an aperture controller, or a lens adapter, with a Nikon camera + Nikkor lens.

If you're a fan of Sony cameras, and want manual aperture, you might want to check out a Zoom Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5~4.5 AI-S Macro zoom lens, reversed.

Once reversed, it acts like an MP-E, but even better, goes from normal range (at 85mm) ... to 1:4 (something the MP-E can't offer) ... all the way to ~3x at 28mm. It has a manual aperture, so there's no need for electrical gadgetry to work the aperture.

Properly-oriented, it is a nice lens for habitat shots also, 28-85 ... offering advantages the MP-E can't give you, just by flipping it back over the right way.

If you want something more compact, there is also the 25-50 AI-S, which is excellent also, offering similar advantages, but it is a bit more expensive.

Jack

PS: In closing, I liked the flash set-up you had the most. I will be incorporating this into my own system. Best regards.



Sep 03, 2017 at 04:25 PM
GeorgeR
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Post Your Set Up!


Sports shooter looking to get more into macro and just had a nice, used Nikon AF Micro-NIKKOR 200mm f/4D IF-ED Lens fall in my lap.

I am adding a D850 to complement my D5 for sports and assume the D850 and 200mm f4 combo would be formidable gear additions once I master how to use them. I also have an old 105mm macro as my most used lens for underwater photography.

I have owned a Gitzo GT3530LSV tripod with RRS BH-55 Ball Head for some time. For flash, I have a Nikon SU-800, an SB 900, and two of my three SB-800’s that still work.

I usually add an RRS foot to my lenses; is something like the RRS B150B-LMT-PKG: FOR COLLARED MACRO LENSES also worth considering? Any other recommended additions now that I have gone this far?

Macro will be for my personal enjoyment, not to satisfy editors. Time to start studying and shooting once my equipment shows up and then I’m sure I’ll be back with more questions.

Thanks



Sep 08, 2017 at 04:43 PM
JohnK007
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Post Your Set Up!


GeorgeR wrote:
Sports shooter looking to get more into macro and just had a nice, used Nikon AF Micro-NIKKOR 200mm f/4D IF-ED Lens fall in my lap.

I am adding a D850 to complement my D5 for sports and assume the D850 and 200mm f4 combo would be formidable gear additions once I master how to use them. I also have an old 105mm macro as my most used lens for underwater photography.

I have owned a Gitzo GT3530LSV tripod with RRS BH-55 Ball Head for some time. For flash, I have a Nikon SU-800, an SB 900, and two of my
...Show more

Congratulations to you

A D850 + Nikkor 200 f/4 Micro should yield some awesome results.

I don't think you need a macro rail for the 200mm ... unless you intend to do stacks.

If you're looking for reach, and sharpness, you have the best tool for the job right now

If you're looking to do natural stacks @ 1:1, the best macro lens on the planet for that is the Voigtländer SL 125mm f/2.5 Apo-Lanthar, which has 630° of focus throw.

There is no other 1:1 macro lens on the planet that can touch it for this.



Sep 08, 2017 at 07:26 PM
 


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GeorgeR
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Post Your Set Up!


Thanks John. Curious to learn how the software stacking feature on the D850 works.

JohnK007 wrote:
Congratulations to you

A D850 + Nikkor 200 f/4 Micro should yield some awesome results.

I don't think you need a macro rail for the 200mm ... unless you intend to do stacks.

If you're looking for reach, and sharpness, you have the best tool for the job right now

If you're looking to do natural stacks @ 1:1, the best macro lens on the planet for that is the Voigtländer SL 125mm f/2.5 Apo-Lanthar, which has 630° of focus throw.

There is no other 1:1 macro lens on the planet that can touch it for this.





Sep 08, 2017 at 07:28 PM
JohnK007
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Post Your Set Up!


GeorgeR wrote:
Thanks John. Curious to learn how the software stacking feature on the D850 works.


You are going to have to give us all that report

Won't be getting my own until around Christmas time.



Sep 08, 2017 at 07:35 PM
GeorgeR
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Post Your Set Up!


JohnK007 wrote:
You are going to have to give us all that report

Won't be getting my own until around Christmas time.


I have not tried the "Focus Shift" feature on the D850 yet but reading the manual, it only works with AF-S and AF-P lenses. Disappointing my AF 200mm f4 D and AF 105mm f2.8 D will not work. I'll have to learn the manual way.



Sep 20, 2017 at 10:22 AM
technic
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Post Your Set Up!


micaelwidell wrote:
I made a video of my current setup (it is a copy of the setup described here: http://makrofokus.se/blogg/2015/9/24/nonac-40mm-f28.html)

Have a look at my setup and sample photos:



Sorry for digging up an older post, but I have a question about this and the followup messages, maybe someone with experience can comment?

JohnK007 mentioned using a reverse mounted older Nikon 28mm on Nikon DSLR. I have used a reverse mounted Olympus OM 3.5/28mm decades ago on film SLR with excellent results, for around 2-5x magnification. These lenses cost very little used nowadays and have manual aperture setting as well, but I don't know how they would perform on the most recent digital sensors regarding diffraction etc. I currently use Canon 80D DSLR and would consider the Canon 2.8/24STM for such a setup because the 24mm allows higher magnification (but less working distance ...) compared to the 40mm, and the 24mm would also be useful for normal photography.

Is the main point of the MK-C-UP adapter to have automatic stop down of the aperture, or is it used because you cannot set aperture on unconnected EF lenses? How important is auto-aperture in practice, for field work, compared to using an older lens with only manual aperture? I'm interested in a light/compact setup for taking closeup (detail) images of dragonflies/damselflies out in the field. I already have a Canon 100L macro, but I'm looking for a setup with higher magnification (using flash lighting).

I'm interested in focus stacking for improving DOF, but I think for my subjects this will be impractical because even when they sit still for a moment, where I live there is almost always some wind (but maybe with focus stacking like the Nikon D850 can do with a suitable lens, the capture of stack images works quick enough to still get good results?).



Mar 17, 2018 at 04:33 PM
e6filmuser
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Post Your Set Up!


technic wrote:
How important is auto-aperture in practice, for field work, compared to using an older lens with only manual aperture? I'm interested in a light/compact setup for taking closeup (detail) images of dragonflies/damselflies out in the field. I already have a Canon 100L macro, but I'm looking for a setup with higher magnification (using flash lighting).


I use auto-aperture and manual only aperture lenses interchangeably. As you go up the magnification, and down the aperture size, the image on the sensor become so dim, especially where there is no bright sunlight, that the image jumps around, making framing and focus more guesswork than judgement. A bright LED light iluminating the subject is helpful to the camera and to the photographer and won't affect flash exposure.

Harold



Mar 18, 2018 at 06:05 AM
e6filmuser
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Post Your Set Up!


With most of the topic archived, I thought it worthwhile to, for the first time, gather my previous posts about my setups in one place.

Essentially, no tripod, at least two off-camera RC TTL flash, usually three.

[Edit] I have deleted the links, which worked yesterday but do not today. [edit ends]

Harold

Edited on Mar 19, 2018 at 01:27 AM · View previous versions



Mar 18, 2018 at 08:58 AM
technic
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Post Your Set Up!


e6filmuser wrote:
I use auto-aperture and manual only aperture lenses interchangeably. As you go up the magnification, and down the aperture size, the image on the sensor become so dim, especially where there is no bright sunlight, that the image jumps around, making framing and focus more guesswork than judgement. A bright LED light iluminating the subject is helpful to the camera and to the photographer and won't affect flash exposure.

Harold


Thanks, I guessed that in practice having MF or auto-aperture lens it isn't a major issue.

Would it help to use Liveview mode as a workaround for the dark viewfinder with these high magnifications? Or is the Liveview screen update too low for this kind of work, where any small camera/subject movement has big influence on focus/framing?

P.S.: links in your post above don't work for me, maybe because the older part of the thread has been archived or because of the way that the forum software shortens the links?



Mar 18, 2018 at 09:21 AM
e6filmuser
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Post Your Set Up!


technic wrote:
Thanks, I guessed that in practice having MF or auto-aperture lens it isn't a major issue.

Would it help to use Liveview mode as a workaround for the dark viewfinder with these high magnifications? Or is the Liveview screen update too low for this kind of work, where any small camera/subject movement has big influence on focus/framing?

P.S.: links in your post above don't work for me, maybe because the older part of the thread has been archived or because of the way that the forum software shortens the links?


With my EM-1 I get the live view sensor image boost in the eye-level vf, so I use it all the time. I'm not sure why, but the camera I don't use very often, the A7R, seems more susceptible to the camera dipping when I press the shutter button, the framing dropping, leaving the subject too high. I seem to be getting better at controlling this.


Thanks for pointing out the links error. Having posted in another forum first, I picked up unwanted url tags, now removed, by copying and pasting. (I normally post here, copy, and paste there).

Harold




Mar 18, 2018 at 10:32 AM
e6filmuser
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Post Your Set Up!


e6filmuser wrote:
Thanks for pointing out the links error. Having posted in another forum first, I picked up unwanted url tags, now removed, by copying and pasting. (I normally post here, copy, and paste there)


The links having ceased to work this morning, I have deleted them.

Harold



Mar 19, 2018 at 01:30 AM
ThomasBarbin
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Post Your Set Up!


Here is my past and present macro set up.

I use a Canon 7D, Canon 65mm MP-E, Canon 24mm f/2.8 STM (combined with a 12mm extension tube) and occasionally a Canon 70-200 f/4L with extension tubes. I have used a Canon 430EX II until the last couple of months when I got a Venus KX-800 twin flash. The new flash required a new diffuser set up. I am not completely satisfied with my current set up and will likely be tweaking a few things as I pinpoint what I don't like.

Past set up:

For diffusion I used a small Vello softbox with an opaque report cover attached to the front of the softbox. The report cover has one or two layers of tracing paper on the inside and a bit of tinfoil to bounce the flash downwards. A thin sheet of packing foam is taped to the bottom of the report cover. The packing foam has velcro attached so that it can be folded up out of the way if needed. The flash itself is mounted beside the camera on a flash bracket (also Vello) so the flash can move when magnification increases.

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Current set up:

Each flash head has a 10cm X 20cm DIY softbox attached. The softboxes have a single layer of opaque report cover material and a single layer of thin packing foam. The insides are lined with tinfoil. Around the lens is a somewhat concave piece of opaque report cover with a layer of thin packing foam and a piece of paper towel attached to the underside.

Things that I don't like about this set up:
- The diffuser is held up by the KX-800's focus light. This makes it so that I can't photograph things easily if they are against a flat surface like a wall. The light hits the surface and prevents me from moving the camera close enough to focus.
- The concave diffuser is attached to the lens by a rubber band. This makes it awkward when changing lenses. I am not creative enough to figure out an alternative way of attaching the diffuser, yet.
- The amount of diffusion material may be overboard and I may be wasting a lot of light. I might remove a layer of material on the concave diffuser. I only recently added the paper towel as an experiment because I was getting bright hotspots. The paper towel has really helped to reduce the hotspots, but I know have to have my flash set at a higher power than I would like.

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Let me know what you think. Any suggestions you may have are welcomed.

Thomas



Jun 30, 2018 at 01:42 PM
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